Winter’s handler is RPD Lieutenant Michael Browett.
“Winter comes to work every day with a very specific purpose,” Lt. Browett said. “He is a professionally trained working dog who, through a variety of trained commands, is used to help calm and comfort victims of crime of all ages, witnesses and anyone who might otherwise be worried, uncomfortable, anxious or nervous when interacting with law enforcement. The winter will help lay the groundwork in our state for the use of companion dogs in law enforcement and hopefully the criminal justice system as a whole.
“The overall response from staff has been overwhelming support for placing a dog in a facility,” Reno Police Chief Jason Soto said. “The DPR believe this program will have countless benefits for victims of crime, the community at large and the staff themselves.”
“We are thrilled to provide Facility Dog Winter with a free collaboration with the Reno Police Department,” said Paige Mazzoni, CEO of Canine Companions. “This is Canine Companions’ first dog working in a criminal justice setting in Nevada, and we look forward to the incredible job she will do.”
The RPD’s settlement dog program will serve victims of crime who have suffered traumatic stress resulting from the original crime and the ongoing process of the criminal justice system. The facility’s dog and handler frequently interact with victims of crime and assist other staff and organizations with a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to investigation and prosecution. This approach will help reduce factors such as victim anxiety, debilitating stress and fear of testifying.
The provision of these services to young child victims is of particular importance to the program. Using a Canine Companions facility dog to help child victims feel more comfortable during the criminal justice process leads to better interview results, stronger statements and therefore stronger cases all helping to minimize the traumatic effects of the inquiry process. These same results may also apply to adult victims. Research has shown that facility dogs can play a major role in helping to reduce the secondary trauma that victims face when interacting with the criminal justice system.
Winter is the first Canine Companions facility dog to partner with a Nevada state law enforcement agency, and RPD hopes this program will serve as a positive example for other agencies and organizations in the state. ‘State.